Saving some time by taking the shortest route from Qingdao to Dalian
Today, we drove from Yantai to Qingdao for about 3 hours, and we will take the ferry to Dalian instead of driving around Bohai Bay.
There are several ferries from Yantai to Dalian from three different ports, and we chose the night ferry to have a good sleep on board.
Since our car and trailer will take two slots due to the length, we must pay for two places, each costing 600RMB. That will save us one day’s driving time around Bohai Bay. It is a safer way to book the tickets in advance than buying them on-site, as you may face the situation that the position has been sold out in the peak season.
The passenger tickets are separately paid for accordingly, and we got the tickets at the last moment at the harbor by using an agent. The agent delivered them to us personally.
The ticket office at the highway location
Entering the ferry to take us from Yantai to Dalian
Here, it starts to get interesting. Total panic was not well managed at the harbor, and someone needed to decide whether our vehicle should go through the passenger or truck lanes. Ultimately, the security manager decided we must go through the truck lane. Before entering the line, we needed to remove and leave our full 10kg gas bottle, as anything regarded as dangerous goods could not be brought on the ferry.
As usual, our tickets take a very long time with checking passports/visas/latest entry to China and other questions. My wife and children needed to go the route for the passengers, and I needed to drive the car to the ferry. Saying bye to my wife/translator, I knew this would be interesting. Hope to see you tomorrow
Even though I have lived in China for many years, my Chinese language skills are almost zero, and the port workers’ English skills were the same as my Chinese skills. Going through the x-ray, I did not understand why I should step outside the whole building during the scanning, and only after workers waived enough with their hands did I understand the point.
After this, I got ready and waited in line to get on board. There were two ferries, and I didn’t know which one to drive into. I consulted my wife by phone, and she said I should drive the car to the other ferry and walk from there to the one she was taking.
Our links for travel in China
The port worker asked me several times for an “inspection document,” and I had no idea what that was. Later on, found out that those who go through the x-ray will not receive the document. On the other hand, the passenger cars are inspected by a person and would receive an “inspection document.”
In my case, I have to separate pick it up from the harbor office, where all truck drivers get it. Walking into the office, they did not know why I was there as I didn’t have a truck. After some lengthy discussion with Google Translate, someone got a great idea that maybe I drove through the x-ray, and they should provide me the document.
After receiving it, everything went smoothly, and I managed to drive to the correct ferry, not the one my wife had advised initially. They did some small security checks before driving in and almost jumped up as the caravan had one 5L fixed diesel tank with some diesel in it for the Webasto heater. They tried to pull it out but soon realized that it was fixed. After a short rolling-eye moment of what he should do, he let me go.
Some pictures from the Yantai harbor and ferry
I realized soon after entering the ferry that this was no luxury cruise. Unfortunately, we don’t have many pictures from inside, but I can ensure this is just a ferry taking you from point A to point B.
Cabins are basic, with four beds and no possibility for locking the doors, for safety, as I understood. One restaurant had basic noodles, and the supermarket had drinks, chips, and toilet paper. Someone is doing good business with toilet paper, as it was not included in the cabins 😉
In the morning rush, the other drivers get to the car and drive out. I heard a big bang from the trailer while exiting the ferry, quickly checked the harbor, and noticed one of the support legs had been taking a hit. The damage was even worse, and you can read what needed to be done in Inner Mongolia